News and notes from Google Down Under
Knol is open to all Australians
Thursday, July 24, 2008
A few months ago we
that we were testing a new product called
. Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Today, we're making Knol available to everyone.
The key principle behind Knol is authorship. Every knol will have an author (or group of authors) who put their name behind their content. We are also introducing a new method for authors to work together that we call "moderated collaboration." With this feature, any reader can make suggested edits to a knol which the author may then choose to accept, reject, or modify before these contributions become visible to the public.
The web contains vast amounts of information, but not everything worth knowing is on the web. An enormous amount of information resides in people's heads: millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge.
Knol provides a great way for Australians to share their knowledge, and to give people around the world an expert glimpse into Australia. Who wants to be the first to tackle an explanation of the Tribunal system for Aussie rules? Anyone an expert on the world's deadliest spider, and can explain what to do if bitten? Or how about the history of Australian Nobel Prize laureates?
You can read more about the announcement, and the process for submitting and suggesting edits for knols on our
Official Google Blog
. To see what others have written and to get started with your own knols, check out
Posted by Justin Baird, Senior Product Specialist, Google Australia and New Zealand
Goodbye to the "World's Oldest Blogger"
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Olive Riley, who, at 108, was the "world's oldest blogger," passed away last Saturday at her nursing home near Sydney, Australia. Olive posted many YouTube vlogs retelling tales of her youth and sharing songs that helped to convey her most fundamental belief: "I want to be happy, but I can't be happy 'til I make you happy too."
Back in October 2007, we were fortunate to have Olive be a part of the YouTube Australia launch for which she made this welcome video:
We will miss the woman who once said: "If a woman who left school in 1914 can embrace the Internet in her 106th year, what is there you can't do, friend?" If you knew Olive or have thoughts on her passing, feel free to upload a video memorial to her on
Posted by Damien Estreich, The YouTube Team
Going to school with Google
Friday, July 11, 2008
Posted by Andrew Mitchell, Google Apps Team
As an organisation that began life in a
Stanford University dorm room
, Google has deep roots in the world of education. In addition to providing a
range of tools
that support teachers in their effort to empower students, encourage creativity, and build confidence in computing skills, Google is committed to delivering solutions that facilitate students and teachers sharing information and ideas.
As you may have heard, a number of schools and universities in Australia have signed up recently for Google Apps Education Edition. Last year, Macquarie University
signed up 68,000 students
for Gmail, followed in February of this year by
StudentNet and the Rudolf Steiner school
. Most recently, the NSW Department of Education and Training announced that it will be rolling out Gmail to
1.3 million students across NSW
We're happy to see now that educators in New Zealand are also setting their sights online. Earlier this year, the University of Waikato successfully deployed Google Apps to their 25,000 students, and yesterday,
you may have heard
that the largest university in New Zealand, The University of Auckland, also rolled out Google Apps to 50,000 students, staff and alumni.
I'm always interested to talk to schools and universities in Australia and New Zealand, and had the pleasure yesterday of attending
, a conference on the Gold Coast focused on IT in education. It was inspiring to hear how open schools are to online tools, and to the collaborative possibilities of online applications like Google Apps.
To learn more about
Google Apps Education Edition
(which is free to accredited K-12 or higher educational institutions) check out the overview video below or
get in touch with us here
Check out the Tour de France using Street View in Google Maps
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Posted by Peter McKenzie, Software Engineer/Cycling enthusiast
For all those who will be cheering for
as he aims to take home
the yellow jersey
from this year's
Tour de France
, but aren't planning on making the long haul to be there in person, you may want to check out the new Street View imagery
we released today
in Google Maps, which allows you
to view street-level imagery
along the entirety of this year's route.
Each of the 21 stages are clearly marked on the map, taking you over more than 3,500 km (2,200 miles) around the 21 hairpin bends of the notoriously steep Alpe d'Huez to the finishing line on the cobbled streets of the Champs Elysees.
View Larger Map
Nearing the finish line in L'Alpe-d'Huez, found in Stage 17 from Embrun to L'Alpe-d'Huez, arguably the most physically demanding stage of the whole race
View Larger Map
The Eiffel Tower and Seine river in Paris, passed in Stage 21 from Etampes to Paris' Champs-Elysees, the final stage of the race
View Larger Map
The Arc de Triomphe, at the western end of the Champs Elysee. If you zoom in, you can look at the detailed sculptures on the frieze
, we're aiming to launch the Street View feature for Google Maps in Australia later in 2008. This new Tour de France imagery gives you a feel for some of the cool and useful applications for Street View, and how it might be used in Australia. It's also a great chance to check out the face-blurring technology we'll be implementing in Street View here in Australia.
The Tour de France 2008 will begin on July 5th (in France), and runs until July 27th. Go Aussies!
Supporting a faster, more accessible, more open Internet in Australia
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Posted by Carolyn Dalton, Head of Government Affairs & Public Policy - Australia & NZ
Google's services – web search, Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube – help to connect millions of individuals, groups and businesses around the world. The technologies of connection are especially useful and important in a geographically vast and isolated country like Australia. As Google's CEO Eric Schmidt told Australian reporters during a visit to Sydney in March 2008:
"Google is helping Australians overcome the ‘tyranny of distance’. We measure distances not in hundreds of kilometres, but in milliseconds.
The same can be said of services provided by other online innovators – diverse names such as Yahoo, eBay, Wikipedia, wotif.com, MySpace, SEEK and Facebook – all of which are popular in Australia, and all of which enhance the ability of Australians to connect, to share, to learn, and to reach customers and audiences regardless of their location. At Google Australia, we've been pleased to play a role in this over the past years.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the economic and social benefits that flow from speedy and affordable Internet connectivity are numerous:
It spurs creativity, promoting the creation of user generated content that is facilitated by “Web 2.0” applications such as YouTube;
It drives new forms of economic activity, allowing (i) Australian businesses to reach new customers around the world through online advertising, (ii) Australian publishers to earn money by creating locally and globally compelling content, and (iii)
Australian web developers
to create innovative internet-based businesses;
It creates new forms of social engagement and interaction such as social networking, Internet voice links, video sharing and citizen participation in democracy (as seen in the
2007 Google Australian election initiative
It cuts costs for Australian enterprises, government agencies and educational bodies, as they are enabled to utilise Web-based applications in ‘the cloud’, making their documents securely available from any computer with an Internet connection at greatly reduced cost;
It empowers community groups, educational institutions and government agencies to reach constituencies (and each other) in new and innovative ways -- for example, the Catholic Church’s
use of social networking
for the upcoming World Youth Dayin Sydney,
UNSW’s YouTube channel
that assists in remote education, and
Transperth’s use of Google Maps
to provide public transport details to users.
For Australian users, communities and businesses to realise these enormous benefits, no infrastructure is more crucial than advanced communications networks. Indeed, the United Nations has recognised broadband as essential infrastructure,
just as necessary as water and electricity
Google Australia's vision is of an Australia in which competitive broadband Internet is universally accessible, at best-in-world speeds and at affordable prices. As you may be aware, the Federal Government has committed A$4.7 billion to subsidise the rollout of a fibre network accessible to at least 98% of the Australian population. Along with inviting bids from parties to build and operate the infrastructure, the Government has reached out for comment on what regulatory safeguards are necessary to maximise the public benefit.
Google is born of a highly competitive ecosystem – the open Internet – in which alternative services are only ever a click away, and where success only comes by providing superior services, constant technological improvement, and earning users’ trust. We aim to provide our users with the best possible experience and service in a competitive, open and innovative environment, one click at a time.
We believe that similar principles of openness, innovation and competition should be built into the regulatory framework governing Australia’s future national broadband network. Simply put, in a global economy, an open Internet and a competitive broadband market is necessary to ensure that all Australian consumers and Australian businesses can share in the benefits of the digital economy.
Our belief in the possibilities that broadband creates, and our underlying confidence in the innovative power of open and competitive communications environments, motivated us to put together a submission to the Federal Government’s enquiry into the regulatory principles that should govern the national broadband network. Here's the
to the submissions, including ours.
Our submission makes a few important recommendations, including:
The new broadband network and its owner should preserve the Internet's fundamentally open, neutral, non-discriminatory nature.
The rollout schedule of the new network should have the goal of prioritising those parts of Australia that are currently unserved, or underserved by broadband services.
To ensure competition, the winning bidder for the network should offer services on a wholesale basis to retail competitors on non-discriminatory and equivalent terms as it offers them to its own retail operations (from the perspective of both price and non-price terms and conditions). Functional or structural separation of the network owner should be considered as options to ensure this.
To ensure that those Australians who already have relatively fast Internet do not see a decrease in speed in the short term, existing ADSL 2+ and similar broadband services should co-exist with the new network, at least during a defined transition period.
As Australians are increasingly important producers, not simply consumers, of content and applications, the Government should ensure the availability of high symmetrical broadband speeds (both download and upload).
To ensure maximum Internet speeds and efficiencies for Australians accessing the Internet, close attention should be paid to developments in the international capacity market and the peering market.
It's very important for all Australians, and for Australia's future economic prosperity, that the new broadband network embraces the right regulatory principles from Day 1. We hope that you, and our policy makers, will take a look at our recommendations for an open and competitive Internet, where all Australians can get online and enjoy the benefits of world class broadband services.
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